There is always a benefit in seeking out new and unique training methods from other forms of athletic competition for application in the sport of rugby, especially when there is an opportunity to significantly improve an athlete’s ability to compete on the pitch. Coaches in the sport of rugby have long valued athletes who possess exceptional lateral speed, and strength training and conditioning coordinators such as John Pryor have long sought to greatly improve the lateral strength and speed of their athletes through focused strength training and conditioning programs.
In track and field competition, the most successful athletes in both the horizontal and vertical jumps tend to possess exceptional lateral strength and speed, which is why the training techniques used by these athletes in preparation for competition have proved to be so beneficial to rugby athletes seeking to enhance their own lateral strength and speed. In training, rugby athletes must focus on elastic strength development as well as reactive strength development before moving on to some of the larger energy-related goals that include energy loss minimization, energy redirection and energy enhancement.
It should be noted that the training focus has to be quite precise in order to deliver meaningful goals for competition, with the benefits of this type of training becoming apparent within a 12-month period but potentially requiring a full 24-month training cycle. Players exhibiting poor lateral speed before beginning this type of training are very likely to test poorly when it comes to leg power as well as lumbo-pelvic control and adductor flexibility.